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Home > Interdepartmental Group to examine issues relating to people with mental illness who come in contact with the Criminal Justice System. Second report.

Interdepartmental Group to examine issues relating to people with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system. (2018) Interdepartmental Group to examine issues relating to people with mental illness who come in contact with the Criminal Justice System. Second report. Dublin: Government of Ireland.

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The Interdepartmental Group’s first interim report was published in September 2016. That report sets out the work of the Interdepartmental Group in relation to how diversion could be facilitated where appropriate, at all stages of the criminal process up to the conclusion of a criminal trial.

The second report of the Interdepartmental Group explores matters relating to mental health services for prisoners and persons subject to community sanctions, matters relating to patients detained under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 and post-release mental health services for former prisoners.

P.9 Current Challenges

In the community, many of those clients of the Probation Service experiencing mental illness, disorder or distress receive appropriate support and intervention through their families, their General Practitioners, or community based mental health services. It can be difficult, however, for Probation Officers in working with clients, to access appropriate mental health services for persons on probation supervision in the community who require assessment and treatment particularly where they are not already linked in to services or may have ‘fallen out’ of dual services.

The combination of drug misuse and mental health issues, for example, often precludes clients from either service. Many of these and other clients can present with challenging and disruptive behaviours which can impact their ability to access or retain local community services. This is contrary to the spirit of the ‘Vision for Change’ policy, and in practice presents an ongoing challenge to the Probation Service in managing the offending behaviour of these offenders in the community.

Many of the offenders with mental illness or other mental health issues who end up on probation supervision arrive there without prior assessment. This can further compound the challenges of effectively supervising that person, in the absence of a pre-sentence assessment, which might for example have proposed, specific supervision conditions, specifically suited to addressing the relevant mental health issues. It is important to note that where someone with a mental illness, for example, is accessing and co-operating with appropriate psychiatric treatment, the probation supervision plan is enabled to address other offence-relevant issues.

In custody, prisoners assessed on committal may, in the course of their sentence, be referred to forensic psychiatric services. These are provided on an in-reach basis, primarily by the National Forensic Mental Health Service. This is further explored in Chapter three. 

Probation Officers work as part of multi-disciplinary teams, mainly with prisoners who will be under post-release supervision in the community. Continuity of care between the prison based mental health service and community mental health teams is essential.

P.12 Substance abuse unfortunately is relatively widespread among the prison population and there is evidence to suggest a link between early abuse of certain drugs and mental illness. There is also evidence that in those with serious mental illness, there is an increased risk of violent offending in those with co-morbid substance abuse.

Item Type
Report
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Harm reduction, Crime prevention, Rehabilitation/Recovery
Date
December 2018
Pages
42 p.
Publisher
Government of Ireland
Corporate Creators
Interdepartmental Group to examine issues relating to people with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system
Place of Publication
Dublin
Notes
Released April 2021
EndNote
Related URLs

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